After his controversial split decision victory over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, Georges St-Pierre tentatively announced that he was leaning towards retirement in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. Since then, a tsunami of negative criticism has been directed towards the champ from all levels of the mixed martial arts community.
One of his most negative critics was UFC President Dana White. At the post-fight press conference, he said that Hendricks was the real winner of the fight, and he even berated the champ for his post-fight comments on a potential retirement.
“You owe it to the fans, you owe it to that belt, you owe to this company, and you owe it to Johny Hendricks to give him that opportunity to fight again, unless you’re going to retire. There’s no I’m going to go on a cruise, and I’m going to be gone for two years, and I’m going to take a hiatus. I’m going to take a leave of absence. Whatever the hell it was that he was saying. That’s not how it works.”
One person who doesn’t agree with the UFC President is, GSP’s friend and trainer, Firas Zahabi. In a recent interview with Fight Now TV, Zahabi repudiated White’s statements by averring that the champ doesn’t owe anything to anybody.
“I don’t think Georges owes anybody anything. He has more hours in the Octagon than anybody else.”
Zahabi does make a point. According to Bloody Elbow, GSP has 5:28:12 in the octagon, the most of any fighter in UFC history. B.J. Penn trails just behind him at 5:03:51.
Even so, many MMA fans still hold St-Pierre in contempt for his recent win against Hendricks. But judging from Zahabi’s tone, it doesn’t seem like that will have any influence on whether the champ decides to retire or continue fighting.